Tributes to woman with an ‘indomitable, joyful spirit’

Pat Brook
Pat Brook

People in Buckingham have been paying tribute to a woman who contributed to the life of the town over many years.

Pat Brook died on Friday, January 9, aged 82, in Milton Keynes Hospital following failing health since last July.

Mrs Brook taught English as a foreign language for many years abroad, including Hong Kong and Malaysia, before she came to the University College at Buckingham in 1976.

She quickly set about providing support for overseas students who needed to improve their English before commencing degree studies in the still fledging institution.

While at Buckingham, she met professor of Life Sciences Alan Brook, whom she married in 1984.

They shared a passion for music, with Mrs Brook singing in the Buckingham Music Society and Buckingham Church Choir and also helping Prof Brook organise the Buckingham Summer Festival.

Her colleague and friend Gerry Loftus said: “Throughout her professional life, Pat devoted herself tirelessly to her students and was the model tutor .

“She was at the forefront of providing English language teaching to law students. She was also keen to support students’ families, founding the Malaysian Wives Association.

“Even after her eventual retirement, her former students, particularly law students from Malaysia, were often in contact with her, their affection for her palpable.

“Her indomitable and joyful spirit remained with her until her failing ill health after Alan’s death in 2013.”

Chairman of the Buckingham Old Gaol Trust Helene Hill said: “Pat was one of the founder members of the Friends of the Old Gaol in 1992, serving as its first secretary.

“She went on to also join the Old Gaol Trust as trustee for several years, being elected vice chairman then chairman.

“While chairman, Pat oversaw and sponsored the Flora Thompson display. She will be greatly missed by all her friends at the Old Gaol.”

Chairman of the Buckingham Summer Festival, Martin Ricketts, said: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the recent death of PatBrook. Pat has been a staunch supporter of the festival since its very earliest days.

“Everyone at the Buckingham Summer Festival joins in sending their condolences to Pat’s family and her many friends.”

Rev Will Pearson-Gee said: “Pat was a longstanding and much-loved member of our choir. Always smiling and with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, she had an unmistakable presence at the parish church. Unafraid to voice her thoughts, she was a perpetual source of advice and encouragement and she will be deeply missed.”

Chairman of the Buckingham Choral Society Marillyn Stewart said: “Pat had been a loyal and enthusiastic member of Buckingham Choral Society for around 35 years.

“She was a lovely lady and she will be much missed.”

Mrs Brook’s daughter, Amanda, said: “She was a very kind and generous person and many students all over the world are very grateful to her.”

Mrs Brook also leaves a son, Richard, two grandchildren and three stepchildren.

A funeral will be held at Buckingham Parish Church on Monday, January 26, at 1pm.